Simple Design Rules to Keep Your Brand Modern

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Whether you are a large-scale business or a small mom-and-pop store, your brand is everything. The design of your brand needs to be polished and refined across all marketing channels. If your brand’s design is old and outdated, your business may fail to make a lasting impression on potential customers. A good brand design should portray your business as smart, professional and current with recent trends. Here are a few easy-to-follow design rules to keep your brand’s design from falling into the prehistoric era.

Type Hierarchy

Making your website copy stand out on the page is essential to capture your site visitors’ attention. One way to make this task simple is by implementing a typographic hierarchy, which means formatting type to show the most important copy, making your website easy to navigate. Adding three levels of typography to your design is a good starting point, with the levels being the headline, subhead and main text. Type hierarchy makes it easy to communicate your message to site visitors at a glance, while also enhancing your website’s readability.

Headline

Subhead

Body copy

Minimal Effects

On average, 25% of site visitors will leave a website if the page does not load in less than 4 seconds. A common reason for slow loading websites is heavy usage of design elements such as Flash, videos and large images. The best sleek and modern brand designs are often the most simple designs. Don’t overcomplicate your design by using a wide array of design effects that take the focus away from your central message. Keep it simple and choose optimized images, simple background colors and a typeface that is in a contrasting color that is easily legible.

Consistency

Arguably the most important design rule is to design with consistency. Consistent design elements on your website and other branded materials is crucial to making your brand instantly recognizable to customers. Try to use a similar color palette throughout all of your brand materials to create visual harmony. Everything should be consistent, from the color palette to the use of white space and the way elements are aligned. Remaining consistent with your design elements ensures that all of your marketing materials are an extension of your brand.

The design that you choose for your brand will play a major role in helping you get noticed by your target audience. A strong visual strategy is just as important as any online marketing strategy. Follow these simple guidelines for a modern brand design that never goes out of style.

How to Build a Loyal Audience

How to Build a Loyal Audience

By now you know that attracting new customers is crucial to the success of your business. However, it is even more important to form a lasting impact on your current customers to gain and keep their business. Quality customer service, great products and services are an important part of building up a loyal audience. The best way to instill trust in your customers is to show them that you understand and see them. Here are a few ways to build a strong audience for your business.

Build a connection

One of the best ways to connect with your patients is through social media. Your business’ social media accounts present a great opportunity to give it a personality, and connect with customers outside of the office. From sharing special promotions or engaging with your followers on Facebook and Instagram, regularly update your social media accounts with fun and relevant posts to reap the benefits of customer loyalty. It’s also important to respond to your customers to further cement that loyalty.

Be the expert they trust

Often customers get nervous when they are recommend to add on a service. They may feel it’s a unnecessary cost. The best way to ensure their is trust when you are suggesting an add-on service is to explain in detail why you feel it’s necessary. If you can offer an alternative option as well, especially one that is more affordable, that’s even better. Trust is everything when you’re trying to build a loyal audience.

Thank your customers

A quick ‘thank you’ note goes a long with customers – whether it includes a promotion or not. People genuinely love to be appreciated for their time. The best time to thank them is within 24 hours after they’ve visited, and most customers prefer to receive their thank yous via email. But if your business can do it, a handwritten ‘thank you’ note will blow them away.

Finding the right way to engage with your customers is a great way to foster loyalty. Once you have discovered a strategy that works, you can easily amass a following of customers that will keep coming back to your business for years to come.

How to Celebrate Small Business Saturday

Celebrate Small Business Saturday

The holiday retail race will begin in just one week – is your business ready to take advantage of Small Business Saturday? Unlike Black Friday, Small Business Saturday encourages shoppers to show some love for small businesses in their local community. Statistics prove that people want to support their communities. In 2012, when the holiday was founded by American Express, $5.5 billion was spent in small businesses across America in a single day. Here are a few ways that both your business and your clients can celebrate Small Business Saturday.

Promote Small Business Saturday

As a small business, it’s important to get a head start on promotions so that you can stand out from your Black Friday competitors. Remind all of your clients about Small Business Saturday in advance by promoting the event on social media. Let your followers know about the history of the event and what your business has planned with posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Don’t forget to send out emails to all of your subscribers encouraging them to “shop small” with your business.

Create Incentives

Think about what makes your small business stand out from retail chain stores. Whether it’s personalized customer service or a local product that only you provide, highlight it in your incentive. It’s important that you remind your clients that all of their support for your business goes right back into the community.

Spending $100 at a local business results in an average of $68 that stays in the local community compared to $43 for national franchise businesses.

Any incentive that you offer your clients, can help the whole community in the long term.

Think Ahead

Small Business Saturday is a great event to boost visibility and sales for your business, but remember to look beyond this one day. You can use the shopping frenzy to the advantage of your business and plan your strategy going forward. Use all of the successful strategies from this event and repurpose them all year long to see increased business and client loyalty.

When small businesses succeed, the entire community succeeds. By encouraging your clients to shop local, you can help improve your community and your business’ bottom line. Celebrating Small Business Saturday is a guaranteed win for you and your clients.

Demandforce Customers: Sending Email Campaigns

Demandforce Customers Sending Email Campaigns

Email marketing is one of the most effective methods to reach and engage with your clients. Pew Research data shows that 92% of adults in the United States use email, with 61% of these users using it on an average day. It is also one of the simplest ways to market your small business, gain appointment requests and alert clients to upcoming promotions. Demandforce makes it easy for you to create email campaigns, whether your goal is to gain appointment requests or referrals for new customers.

1-Click Campaigns

Our 1-click campaigns are beneficial to small businesses because they can be created in minutes, which saves you valuable time and money. Creating an email campaign is as easy as click, edit and send! Select the campaign that aligns with your goals, customize it for your business and send or schedule the campaign for a future date. Demandforce creates new 1-click campaigns each season, providing a wide range of email campaigns all year long.

Email campaigns are not only useful for special offers and promotions, they also help keep your business front of mind with clients. Many clients neglect to schedule regular maintenance appointments, resulting in fewer visits over time. Frequent emails from your business help encourage the occurrence of repeat business and increased revenue.

Create Your Own Campaign

Demandforce also provides you with the freedom to create your own email campaigns. Customize all of your content from the email copy to your business’s unique images and branding. Customized campaigns can include newsletters, promotions or thank you emails that show your appreciation to valued clients. Creating your own email campaign gives you the added flexibility of incorporating a call-to-action that links to your own custom URL.

Email campaigns help build brand awareness, loyalty and trust in your business. With the growing popularity of mobile devices, your email campaigns can reach clients immediately, whether they’re at work or in line at a grocery store. Email campaigns are both convenient for your on-the-go clients and vital to your business’s bottom line.

Summer-Inspired Marketing Campaigns for your Industry

Summer Inspired Email Campaigns

One of the tricks to successful marketing is making it relevant to your audience and what they are interested in at that moment. Since the Summer season is full of road trips, vacation, and hot weather – your campaigns should be too! Here are summer-inspired email campaigns for your industry.

Medical email campaign ideas

Summer time is a great time to nurture the relationships you have with your patients. Remind them why they chose your practice with these newsletters:

  • 4 reasons why you should protect your eyes from the sun
  • How to fight the flu before school starts
  • 3 ways to ease your back at your desk job

Dental email campaign ideas

If your young patients haven’t been brought in for their annual visit yet, segment your emails with these ideas to bring them in before school starts.

  • Back to school special: come in by 8/31
  • 25% off bright smiles for the new school semester
  • New patient special: schedule by 8/31

Veterinary email campaign ideas

If your patients could bark the words, they’d let you know that summer may not be their favorite season. Let your clients know why with these newsletters:

  • Summertime pests to protect your furry friend from
  • 3 natural products that will protect your dog from ticks
  • How to protect your pet from the heat

Salon and spa email campaign ideas

The summer heat and blazing sun can be detrimental to healthy hair. Be there for your clients with these emails:

  • Summer special: 25% off deep conditioning
  • 3 at-home remedies for dry hair
  • Come in before 8/31 and get a free hair mask!

Auto shop email campaign ideas

‘Tis the season for selling! Most of your customers have no idea how the summer heat can affect their A/C, or how to prepare for that upcoming road trip. Generate revenue with these emails:

  • $10 off your oil change + free A/C check
  • 10% off tire rotation – offer ends 8/31
  • Free brake check before your road trip

3 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day at your Veterinary Practice

Your pet-loving clients may not realize how important they can be in helping protect the earth on Earth Day, and everyday for that matter. America’s pets have a substantially larger carbon footprint than humans mostly because of the amount of energy, land and water it takes to make their meat-based food. Many people have cut meat out of their diet to help the environment in some way, but that wouldn’t be healthy for our furry friends.

Because of this, we have to find other ways to be environmentally conscious with our pets, and your practice celebrating Earth Day in these three ways can help.

1. Offer a discount on spay/neuter services

According to the ASPCA, 6.5 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters nationwide every year. That number is important for pet owners to know because pets require meat-based food, water and shelter, which goes back to how large their carbon footprint is. A helpful solution is encouraging your clients to spay/neuter their pets in an effort to help control the extreme growth of the pet population. Send them a promotional email offering a discount, for example 25% off spay/neuter services if they schedule the appointment by Earth Day. As their pet’s doctor, you can help educate them on why it’s important to stop breeding animals that can’t be taken care of.

2. Give out biodegradable waste bags

America’s pets produce about 5.1 million tons of feces in a year, as much as 90 million Americans. If all that were thrown in the trash, it would rival the total trash production of Massachusetts — from the humans, at least.* Of course this is completely out of our control, but we can help by using biodegradable waste bags to pick up our pet’s waste. The best doodie bags meet the FTC’s strict criteria, ASTM D6400, which is given to products that actually compost.

Give these out to clients who visit your clinic in the month of April in the spirit of Earth Day. You can also help spread the message on why it’s important to pick up pet waste, for example to prevent the transmission of germs.

3. Send more appointment reminders via email and text

Although postcards are a tried and true form of appointment reminders, email and text messages are also very effective. Sometimes they may be more effective because your client is receiving the reminder in a more timely manner, including the day-of their appointment. Also, you can’t forget that both forms of digital communication are helping you save paper and cut costs.

Test out using only email and text in April, not only to save paper, but also to measure how successful it may be to reduce no-shows. Be sure to implement email segmentation to get the most out of your campaign.

Celebrating Earth Day is important because our planet is a complex ecosystem that should be handled with care. Let your clients know it’s important to you, and get them into the spirit of being eco-conscious as well!

 

*http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/the-truth-about-cats-and-dogs-environmental-impact

 

Implementing Your Online Reputation Strategy

Implementing your online reputation strategy

In the first part of this series, Getting Started: Taking Control of your Online Reputation, we kick off where to begin when building and monitoring your online presence. Now that you have your reputation marketing plan mapped out, here are some tools to help you implement your strategy.

1. Claim your business listings and social pages

Customers are searching you online for two reasons: to get your contact information, and to see what other people are saying.

There are some top sites for business listings depending on your industry. Review the ones that show up on the first page of your search and make sure your contact information is correct. If there are other important sites you know as a professional that your business should be listed on – add it! No stone should go unturned.

When it comes to what people are saying about their experience with you, managing your reputation is huge. First, claim your business on Yelp and Google.

If your business doesn’t show up – create your profile! Add your logo and put up some pictures of the inside and outside of your business. It wouldn’t hurt to have a picture of the team either. Customers like to see what they are walking into – it gives them a sense of familiarity.

2. Listen to what your customers are saying

After you’ve claimed your online presence, read any existing customer reviews. Were the reviews accurate to your product or customer service? Are they pointing out areas that you need to improve? It may be hard to read opinions or experiences that aren’t sugar coated, but use it as helpful feedback. It could be really beneficial to your business, and could start bringing in more 4 or 5 star reviews instead of 3 or less.

If there are a couple of unhappy customers that you feel you can help, respond to the reviews and offer them a solution. Thank the customer for their feedback, explain your process and why that may have happened, and possibly offer a solution. But it’s important to know that once you start review management you have to commit to it. Customers will begin to expect a response from you – even the happy ones!

Do online reviews still make you a little nervous? Here is the secret to online reviews.

3. Create targeted messaging for happy customers

Happy customers can be gold for your online reputation. There are a lot of different ways to encourage customers to leave you reviews. Your front desk employees can encourage it verbally at the end of a service, or you can have them send automated texts or emails if you use a marketing software. These messages are normally triggered after an appointment, and if you use a reputation management software, the reviews will be sent straight to Google. And all your staff had to do was click a button!

 

 

 

 

Getting Started: Take Control of your Online Reputation

Getting started with online reputation strategy

What exactly does online reputation mean to your small business?

Think about when you first put up your ‘Open’ sign. Potential patients or clients drove by and considered stopping in, and friends and family showed their support by bringing you business to start you off. Your business’ presence in the community was building – but when attracted customers wanted to learn more, they searched the internet and found an old business listed under your address. Or worse – they found one negative review and nothing else. Now your online reputation is working against you and your new presence in the community.

Taking control of your online reputation may seem overwhelming, so we’ve gathered some tips on where you should get started.

1.  Run a search on Google and Bing

The best place to start is running a simple search on the main search engines. Search your business name alone, and with other important terms like ‘reviews,’ ‘pricing,’ and ‘customer service.’

Right off the bat you’ll get a pulse for what customers are – or are not – saying about your business. You’ll also be able to see where your company website lands in the search engine results. Hopefully it’s the first!

2.  Is the look of your brand consistent?

Your brand’s color palette helps people know they are in the right place. Just like when you order a soda and you are handed a red cup with white lettering – you know right away you’re drinking a Coca-Cola. Make sure you’re seeing consistent colors and logos on your website, social media channels, and business listings. Your brand is a huge support to your online presence, and really acts as the face of your company.

3.  Set reputation goals you want to accomplish

A great way to not be overwhelmed with managing your online reputation is by setting some attainable goals. This will also help you measure your success. Maybe you want to increase the amount of positive reviews you get online to three a month. Pick a review site and detail a plan on how you want to accomplish that. Our Choice Plus package is a great tool to help you set goals. The online reputation dashboard gives you a view into your competitors online presence, your business listings on top sites, and all of your customer reviews in one place.

Be sure to include your employees in these goals so everyone knows what the company is trying to achieve, and consider rewarding them when the goal is met. Taking control of your online reputation should be an enlightening and rewarding experience for the whole team!

Stay tuned for part two of this blog for a roadmap on how to implement your online reputation goals.